Thursday, October 29, 2009

Early morning pictures

La D took these one morning when we took Bert out for his walk. The webs were dripping with dew. They look fabulous at that time of the day with the sun just coming up

We’ve been rellied!

Well La D and myself have made it through another gruelling rellie visiting session. Phew.
The DiL and MiL were over along with one of La D’s brothers and his wife for a while. No, the woman who came with La D’s brother is not his wife “for a while”. She is permanently his wife. They only came over for a week, while the others stayed for two. I’ll stop. When in a hole, best stop digging. Suffice to say my English is letting me down.
At the same time we had my brother’s son and his girlfriend stay in the little B&B about 50 metres up the lane. They flew into Rome for a few days then hopped onto a train and came and visited for a couple of days and then went back to Rome before flying home. It was very good to see him again as we hadn’t seen each other for about five years. His girlfriend was lovely. Last year she crewed an ocean-going yacht across the Atlantic in a race. All I did was to have a few bonfires – but what bonfires!
The weather was a bit mixed. We were able to sit out a few times, but other times we were huddled up inside as the rain lashed down outside. Well. It is autumn.
But we did get out. One day we went to Tolentino market. It was lovely then and DiL. La D’s brother and myself were in shorts. Well, did we get some looks at the market. Do you remember at school when 1st October came round, the heating was put on whether the weather warranted it or not. I remember many times having been seated next to a radiator, having to fully open the window because it was so hot and you couldn’t control the radiator. It’s a bit like that with the Italians. Once autumn has started out come the coats and scarves and boots, no matter that the sun is shining and it’s quite warm during the day. So some stranieri wandering around with their legs on show is definitely cause for some disbelieving looks and light-hearted comments.
However, ever since DiL and MiL returned the weather has been fantastic. Beautiful blue skies. So very warm in the day, but chilly when the sun goes down. It is so good that yesterday we had a some people round for lunch – a very un-Italian curry. Yum – and we sat outside in the glorious sunshine, feeling very warm. It was brilliant.


One of our neighbours very kindly collected some wild funghi from the woods and brought round about 2.5 kilos worth. I made some sumptuous soups from them. It really is the best mushroom soup I have ever had. Wow.

But remember this old adage:

"There are old mushroom pickers, and there are bold mushroom pickers. But there are no old, bold mushroom pickers!"

This is a picture of the third lot he brought round for us.

Diabetic check

Had my half yearly check up at the Anti Diabetico clinic. I was a bit worried .as my indicators seemed to show a small increase in my levels of disease, but the doc was very happy with my stats overall and sent me on my way with a smile. Don’t have to see her again until well into 2010. Yesss. A good result.

Three Degrees

The girls are doing a sterling job. Three eggs a day at the moment. We have addressed the problem of two of them laying from the perch by putting down strips of paper underneath to cushion the fall of the eggs. So far it seems to be working. The rellies absolutely loved the beautiful fresh eggs we were able to provide them with whenever they wanted.
Also la D is a mean cake maker and the cakes made with the lovely fresh eggs are just incredible. Unfortunately as soon as she made one, the MiL wanted to eat it straight away. The rest of us had to get in there quick if we wanted a piece. The MiL has an appetite for cake that is only matched by her appetite for ice cream. Of course she is in the right country for ice cream when she is here.


Well, Bert is Bert. Still barking at anything that moves past our gates. Looks after the Three Degrees if they are out of their run – only a couple of small chases, but he does like to help when we are trying to “herd” them back into the run. This normally takes the form of running at them in the opposite direction to which we want them to go. Oh well, he does try, poor lad.
I would say he is more loving than ever. He’s brilliant.
He loves everybody that stays with us. The only problem is, he thinks he smaller than he really is. When he jumps onto your lap the first time, it can come as a bit of a shock as a 32 kilo white furry monster suddenly arrives on top of your knees and starts to lick your nose and ears.


Nobody wants any of the three kittens left. It’s a bit of a dilemma. Also, their toileting is something of a problem. They keep regressing to doing their business just outside the back door for some unknown reason. La D and I are wracking our brains as to how to stop them doing it. They’ve acres out there that they use as a loo, why don’t they use them all the time? What is so strange is that they have been going outside for quite while now and then suddenly this. Very odd.
I have tried talking to them, but it’s just like speaking to dumb animals I’ve got nowhere with them.
Picture of a couple of young hunters

And finally, congratulations to Jenson Button

Well done on your 2009 F1 crown. More please.

Ciao, mantenere la fede

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Italy’s Special Space Programme ….. or ooops!

We have been having some wonderfully warm early Autumn weather. Blue, cloudless skies in the day, with a virtually breathless wind and still very dry. Cooler in the night, so very good for sleeping.

It was time I tackled the lowest terrace of the estate with the strimmer. This piece is outside the fence we put up to keep Bertie in and the cinghiale out. The weeds were nearly all as tall as me. So it was hard going getting in and mixing it with the strimmer. But I did. Raked all the cuttings up after every session, ready to burn.

The last time, I went out to pretty much finish the strimming. I set off in a t-shirt, cut-off denims and a pair of wellies. I thought I would burn what had already been cut and whilst that was doing, I would complete the rest of the strimming. Bertie cam down with me and sat on his side of the fence and watched me with a curious look. Well that was the plan.

Now I am sure most of you will remember the famous incident of Janet Jackson’s breast (left one I seem to remember). She was performing some duet with Jason Timbertruck or Justin Timbersomething, at an Amercian sporting final, when she had what was later described as a “wardrobe malfunction”. In other words her boob popped out, either on purpose or by accident and zillions of American watching on TV were, rightly so, absolutely aghast by this lewd display. Of course the news channels all over the world, picked this up as a major piece of earth shattering news of global importance that they just had to re-broadcast and re-broadcast and analyse what it all meant for humanity. I suspect that the reality of it was that they couldn’t get over the nipple ring.

I digress a little. I had a little malfunction myself. Not of the wardrobe variety though, this was a “weather malfunction”. I had had this before and I should have remembered.

Just as the first pile of hay had caught, the f*&^ing wind picked up, didn’t it. For the next ten minutes I was running round and round this increasing large burning circle trying to stamp out the fire as it crept outwards burning the stubble until it reached another pile and so and so forth, at quite an alarming rate. As it approached more piles I at first started to move them away, out of the encroaching fire’s reach, but of course it was soon approaching them again. So I changed tack and started to put the piles into the middle of the burnt circle. I was choking in the smoke, my feet felt as though they were about to boil in the wellies and my once proud hairy legs looked as though they had been waxed. However I felt I had nearly got it under control. At least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

At this point I heard La D coming down the top garden carrying a couple of watering cans with the Berts at her heel. “Need any help, L’uomo chi fa?” she shouted. “It certainly looks as though you do. What did I say to you about bringing some water down as a precaution? You silly man. Here, take these and I’ll go and get some more.”

“Thanks La D” I mumbled. “It’s almost out and under control”

“Is it?” La D said. “What are those flames doing then, down at the bottom left hand corner. The ones just licking that huge pile of dried hay.”

“Oh no” I said as I ran down the hill with my hairless legs rattling in my red-hot wellies with water slopping out of the cans to douse the flames. Bertie just sat there looking almost amused at the spectacle unfolding in front of him.

A few more watering cans later, the fire was out but there is now a rather large area of scorched earth where there shouldn’t be.

As la D and I trudged up the hill back to the house she said, “I will only say this once L’uomo chi fa, although I do so want to say it more than once, but “I told you so””.

“Thanks La D” I muttered.

“When will you ever learn, that as a woman, I am always right” she said.

“Sorry, I temporarily forgot. But the fire was almost out, just a coup …….”
“Enough, Luomo chi fa” she said in a very final tone., and walked on.

I wondered why she had come out to see. The smoke was billowing away from the house so she wouldn’t have smelt anything and there wasn’t really any noise. Just as these thought were going on in my head, I looked over at Bertie. He somehow looked guilty. I looked harder at him and he sort of shook his shoulders as if to say “I didn’t tell her. It wasn’t me guv. Honest!” Then I swear I saw a hint of a smirky smile on his lips. He was beginning to look like Muttley, Dick Dastardly’s dog in The Wacky Races.

Behind every cloud, blah, blah, blah. I later contacted the Programma Italiano Spazio Speciale or PISS as it’s known, to see if I could offer some of our estate as a potential launching site. They are sending some of their personnel over to have a look to see if it might be useful for them. We’ll have to wait and see.

PS. La D has now confiscated all lighting equipment. They are to be signed out and in from now on. I ask you. It’s like living in a police state!

PPS The rellies are coming!

Ciao, mantenere la fede